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Headscratchers / Aladdin (2019)

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    Why does Jafar want an alliance with Skånland? 
  • Jafar pushes for Jasmine to marry Prince Anders of Skånland, as he wishes to add Skånland's military might to Agrabah's when he attacks Shirabad. But Skånland is implied to be a Scandinavian analogue, while Agrabah (and presumably Shirabad) are in Arabia. How does an alliance with such a far away land improve Agrabah's position in case of a war with Shirabad?
    • Had Anders married Jasmine then he would have been the new Sultan, meaning Skånland would have been obligated to send troops and supplies to Agrabah if they went to war regardless of how far away it was.
    • In addition, Skånland's national dress seems more Slavic than Scandinavian; if Skånland is Russia and Shirabad is Persia, an alliance lets Agrabah hit them from both the north and south in a pincer movement.
    • Anders is a naive Ditz who clearly doesn't know much about the area, making him the perfect puppet for Jafar to use and control.

     Why does the Genie need to use a wish to save Aladdin? 

  • The Genie does plenty of magic without an explicit wish. If he can teleport the flying carpet to the "ends of the earth" without a wish, why can't he just teleport Aladdin out of the water?
    • In the original, it's a bit more clear. The Genie was TRICKED by Aladdin into getting him out of a VERY dangerous he made a deal for no more freebies.
    • Even in the remake, he can't bring anybody back from the dead... and that's more or less where Aladdin is at that point.
      • He was not dead. Many people who were brought back from the brink of death with modern medical science would have been declared dead by medical knowledge centuries or even decades before. Furthermore Aladdin started breathing again on his own once he had air to breathe again; Genie was begging him to start breathing again and then Aladdin hacked up lungwater onto a dually disgusted and relieved Genie. As for Genie's action on Carpet: since the whole nature of Aladdin's Second Wish to "save you from certain death" was already in a gray area in invocation, and Genie already had been on an extended job in full faith of Al's first wish, he considered surreptitiously blinking Carpet to Aladdin's location to be in the spirit of Al's second wish. Al's second wish was to be "saved from certain death"; death would have been certain and cold where he was sent.
    • It seems to revolve around the "grey area" Genie mentions early on. Genie shows he can either obey the letter or spirit of a given wish; so helping Aladdin with dancing can be interpreted as just adding on to Aladdin's first wish since the spirit of it is to woo Jasmine. Sending the magic carpet could potentially be excused as "I sent an object to the same rough area Aladdin happened to be". But to save Aladdin when he was drowning would be directly interfering with no "grey area" to use as wiggle room.
    • In an earlier scene, Al and the Genie do go into a bit more detail as to what he can and can’t do without making a wish; the implication I got is that he can’t do anything specifically to benefit his master without it falling under the context of a wish. For example, he’s able to distract Dalia to allow Aladdin into Jasmine’s room with no strings attached, but that only works because wooing Dalia is something he already wants to do, personally, for himself. The dance moves and editing the map fall under the “become a prince” wish, and sending the carpet to where Jafar banished Aladdin isn’t as direct as personally pulling him out of the sea. Odds are if Jafar hadn’t thrown Al into the sea to try and kill him and had instead gone with something where he could be saved by the carpet, the Genie could’ve summoned it to save him without using a wish. But the carpet presumably can’t function under the water, so the only way for Al to be saved is if the Genie directly and personally did something himself.
    • The Fridge page suggests that Genie was able to send Carpet to Aladdin because it was in line with his second wish — as I recall, it went something like, “I, Aladdin, being of sound body and mind, hereby use my second wish to be saved from certain doom.” Notice that it doesn’t say when or many times he may be saved from certain doom, so Genie capitalized on that loophole later in order to save him from freezing to death.

    The Wheel 
  • What was that wheel Aladdin and Genie gave to the Sultan and Jasmine?
    • A gift.
    • Rewatching the film, it looks to me like some sort of ornate hand-crank-thingy. It's only shown in one shot, though, so it's hard to tell exactly.
    • It's a giant music box.

    Genie Magic? 
  • The Genie says that his magic will make Aladdin unrecognizable (ostensibly to explain why Jasmine didn't recognize him in the original film), so how is Jafar able to know who he is nearly right away and Jasmine isn't?
    • Because he knew of Aladdin's want to woo Princess Jasmine, and then suddenly this "Prince Ali Ababwa" shows up with the hype turned up to eleven right after that whole incident at the Cave of Wonders. Jasmine figured it out because of prior knowledge too.
    • Building on the above, Jafar knew Aladdin still had the magic lamp. That none of his maps showed the kingdom of Ababwa and that "Prince Ali" couldn't say where it was just helped solidify things. Also Jafar admitted he wasn't certain and his attempted murder was the test to check. If Prince Ali dies, then Jafar's gotten rid of a potential rival; if he lives then Jafar knows both who he is and (roughly) where the lamp must be. Meanwhile Jasmine didn't seem to figure it out until "Prince Ali" did a couple things, such as brushing her hair aside, that Aladdin had done before, much like the original when "Prince Ali" asks if she trusts him the same way Aladdin had.
    • Genie explains that his glamour magic is just "an Illusion" and will only allow people to see what they want to see. Genie's rules of not being able to make anyone fall in love with you can be extended to mean "I cannot change someone's free will", and that includes forcing someone to believe you are someone or something you're not. Genies transformation doesn't change what you actually look like, instead only giving you enough external accessories to pass when it comes to cursory inspection/being glanced at for a second or two by people that don't know who you are. Jafar can break this immediately because he is an accomplished sorcerer but most importantly knows what Alladin looks like. Jasmine took longer, but still got through because the Magic is paper thin, and all it took was a closer look at his face from up close and some trapped questions for her to recognise him. Someone that doesn't know Alladin at all would likely be totally unable to break the "Prince Ali" disguise because "Prince Ali" is all they have ever known.
    • It’s actually the magic Carpet that clues Jafar and Iago in, apparently they were aware there was one inside the cave of wonders.

    Did they say 10, 000 years?l 
  • 10,000 years ago, civilization barely existed. How would someone have even spoken to the genie to make wishes or known what to wish for?
    • Even cave people would know to wish for some nice food, a huge club, somebody sexy to kiss...
    • Fantasy stories are replete with ancient, civilized civilizations that fell for one reason or another — Atlantis, for instance.
    • Also, Genie says he was only imprisoned in the lamp for 1,000 years before meeting Aladdin. He does mention being alive for 10,000 years, but presumably wasn't granting wishes for people the entire time. (And was likely exaggerating the number a bit anyway, for comedic effect.)

    Agrabah existing for 1, 000 years seems a little bit iffyl 
  • If there's a real-life analogy, I don't know of any ruling dynasty in that part of the world that had a monopoly for a whole millenia. Perhaps, Constantinople? Besides, if it was an Islamic-based society. The Abbasid Caliphate which this is based off lasted 750-1258
    • It’s a movie set in a fictional place it doesn’t have to gel with real history.
    • The Agrabah in question may be the city itself, not the nation-state. Babylon (for example) lasted for almost two thousand years, but only belonged to a "Babylonian" ruler for about half that time; it's possible that Agrabah has changed hands once or twice between then and now.

     Magic carpets are one thing, but magic lamps with genies inside are just ridiculous! 
  • Aladdin’s reaction to meeting Carpet is, as I recall, something along the lines of “Whoa, so these things DO exist,” hinting that it’s something he’s heard of through the myths and folklore of his culture. But when he meets the Genie, he’s not only shocked but seems to have no idea what a genie is — he thinks he’s a giant at first and has to be educated on the process of being given three wishes. Wouldn’t there to be similar stories about genies that he’d have heard at some point, so he’d at least understand the basic concept behind them?
    • Apparently genies are not on the same level of cultural awareness as flying carpets in Aladdin's world.
      • It seems like magic is a known and recognized aspect in the world of Aladdin, so something like a flying carpet could easily exist courtesy of a decent sorcerer. A Genie, on the other hand, is probably much more "out there" in terms of what could be explained, as a supernatural entity.
      • Same case with the animated version. Aladdin catches on pretty fast on what a magic carpet is. But is still rather curious about a magic lamp ("looks like such a.. beat up, worthless, piece of junk..") and the Genie himself ("I must have hit my head harder than I thought!") Or perhaps magic carpets are just a LOT more common than Genies. Otherwise, Jafar could look elsewere other than the Cave of Wonders.

     Why does Jafar want war with Shirabad so badly? 
  • To my recollection, we’re never told anything about Shirabad except that it’s where Jasmine’s mother came from and that the Sultan still considers its people to be his friends and allies. And Jafar’s primary motivation appears to still be gaining power — even if a war is just for the sake of conquest, why is he pushing to gain international support through Jasmine’s marriage rather than waiting until he’s in charge?
    • In his initial rant where he kills the first underling, he mentions he once spent five years in their prison. It isn't said whether he was guilty or not, or maybe he did the crime to survive, but has held a deep boiling grudge against the people and country since.
      • Oh...I see. Thanks for pointing that out. I swear, it was a detail that I seemed to remember subconsciously, but the way his imprisonment factored into his motivation didn't occur to me until you explained it.
    • It seemed to me to be at first for conquest and then after his irritation with everyone it turns to spite. As a sorcerer he doesn't actually have to marry Jasmine for power, it's just another thing to be a dick about.
    • I think a twisted sense of envy could be playing a factor, too. Jafar does mention to the sultan that Shirabad is currently undergoing notable expansion — he claims that war is necessary for defense, but in reality, he’s just bitter that he’s stuck as second-in-command to a sultan who’s more concerned with allies and sentiment than expansion and conquest.

     Diamond in the rough 
  • How did Jafar know who the diamond in the rough was in this version? I know “diamond in the rough” basically means “a person who is of more worth than their status and position make them appear to be”, but the cave specified in both versions that “only ONE may enter here”, and unless I missed a scene, Jafar never found out who this one person was via magic like he did in the original — we just see Iago spying on Aladdin before labeling him as the diamond in the rough for no reason.
    • In both this and the animated film, Jafar has no qualms toward sacrificing theives in the off-chance of getting what he wants. (Or even after he DOES, hence getting rid of Aladdin in the cave after getting the lamp.) Iago was just saying (in parrot talk) "Thief in Palace! Let's take him to Cave of Wonders. If he's the 'Diamond in the Rough', the lamp is ours! If not, well, one less thief to rob the food stands!"
    • I took Jafar's watching of Aladdin as a secret test of character. He wondered why this boy was in the palace, and then saw he was there to return Jasmine's heirloom. This shows a character within him unlike a common thief who would have kept it to sell for money or food. So the boy could be what he is looking for.

     Jafar's lamp 
  • This applies to the animated film, too — why do the heroes not destroy Jafar's lamp once he's trapped inside it, or at least keep it somewhere nearby and keep watch over it, or even somewhere that's uninhabited by people? Instead, the Genie sends it back into the Cave of Wonders, and the animated sequel shows that Jafar got out pretty easily, thanks to Iago, that he's still out for revenge on Aladdin, and that he's the epitome of a Jackass Genie regardless. And in that film, it's the Genie who tells the others that you can destroy Jafar by destroying his lamp, so it can't be said that he didn't know.
    • Genie DID send Jafars lamp back to the Cave of Wonders, where only a Diamond in the Rough could get it. Unfortunately, Iago burrowed out of the cave in the sequel. Maybe Iago's status as neither genie nor diamond in the rough made the cave reject Jafars lamp somehow, so the lamp just got stuck in the sand.
    • There remains the issue of Jafar being a terrible genie to inflict upon anyone, though, even as a slave. Will-Smith-Genie knows the ins and outs of twisting wishes around already, even if Robin-Williams-Genie never really considered the concept — between the two of them, at least one should've realized what a bad idea returning the lamp to the Cave of Wonders was.
      • Only a Diamond in the Rough can access the cave. Aladdin was too humble to consider persuing a wish-fufilling being, and only did so as a por-favor for a psychopath who KNEW about both the cave and the lamps existance. The cave seems to be only a few miles at most from the city, so its not likely another despicable government minister from a more distant kingdom would target the lamp in Agrabah's local "enchanted cavern".

     Not the most efficient use of sorcery 
  • How come Jafar didn't just teleport the lamp back to himself when Jasmine stole it from him, instead of sending Iago after her and Aladdin? Jafar was able to teleport Aladdin and Abu to the ends of the world, so why didn't he use the same kind of sorcery on the lamp?
    • With it being a magical genie’s lamp, maybe Jafar’s sorcery powers aren’t able to affect it. We also don’t see his powers affect things that aren’t right nearby — maybe he needs to know or be able to visualize where something is before he can affect it, and taking the time to do that for the lamp would give the heroes the chance they need to summon the Genie themselves. Whereas sending Iago after them creates too hectic a situation for them to focus on making a wish, so it’s a distraction as well as a means of bringing them back to him.
    • Jafar is not exactly known for being practical with his sorcery. Also it may be a question of focus/range: he can summon a staff back to him since it's directly within his reach, while the lamp is gone who-knows-where so he needs to get a fixed focus on it.

     Screwing over Jafar 
  • We all know that this Genie is a lot more savvy than the one in the animated film — he knows what it means to be able to misinterpret wishes and twist them around and such, but I’m wondering why it took him until Jafar’s third wish to capitalize on this. His first wish was reworded to become “I wish to become the sultan of Agrabah,” but the Genie could have designated some tiny island (or another planet) to be named Agrabah and made Jafar sultan of that place. And/or more of the same for his second wish — take away the powers of every other sorcerer that exists, then give Jafar the power to pull a bunny out of his hat and it’ll still fit the terms of the wish.
    • (Regarding the second wish) Well that wouldn't exactly be fair to all the other sorcerers forced to give up their powers all of a sudden without even knowing how/why, now would it.
      • Actually the way Jafar words it in this version is "I wish to be the most powerfull sorceror there EVER IS." That actually opens more grey area than in the animated version. If Genie narrowed down the "There ever is" criteria further on his own interpetation, he could make Jafar the most powerful sorceror in Agrabah, the palace, or even that very room at the moment. If Genie just slightly upgraded (or if he wanted to be even more tricky, downgraded) Jafar's pre-existing sorcery, it would still fit Jafar's Exact Words.
      • There is no way to interpret "most powerful ... there ever is" as meaning, "in this room." That's not an interpretation or a grey area, it's flat out changing the wish entirely.
      • He doesn't say "ever", anyway. The exact words of his second wish are "I wish to become the most powerful sorcerer there is."
    • Because there's a vast gulf between, "pull off a trick in the grey area a wish's wording allows" and the kind of huge departure from the wish's stated intent that is being proposed here.
    • Jafar is still a powerful sorcerer and would likely catch on to the Genie's attempts to twist his wishes if done that blatant. Then he'll just simply word his wishes exactly how he wants them to be, no possible loopholes to be used. The reason why the Genie decides to screw over Jafar for the final wish is that A) Genies are indeed the most powerful beings in the universe according to his chart and B) Jafar would be too powerless to punish the Genie.
    • I've also considered that Genie was not particularly generous in granting Jafar's wishes anyway, particularly the second one. The effects of the first are roughly the same as in the animated film, in that all it really gives him is a change of clothes — it's the decision of the guards that determines whether his claim to the throne actually has any merit. And his powers of sorcery are heavily scaled back from the near-Reality Warper they made him in the animated film, as he only uses them for Agony Beam, banishing Aladdin, increasing Iago's size, and summoning a sandstorm. The Genie's aim might've been to grant him enough power that he wouldn't want to ask for more, but not enough that he'd too powerful for the heroes to defeat.

     Jafar, you’re not going to give him a minute? 
  • Jafar tries to drown Aladdin to verify who he is and whether he has the lamp on him, yet he only gives a passing glance down at the water after pushing him in. Even if Aladdin had had the lamp on his person, it would’ve taken some time and effort to summon the genie when his hands and feet are both bound. Wouldn’t Jafar want to give him a little more time before leaving him for dead? If he had, he would’ve seen Abu and Carpet dropping the lamp down into the water.
    • He may have searched Aladdin to see if he had the lamp on him, and because he didn't he could have just gone to Ali's quarters in the castle and looked for the lamp. Also his concern was getting Ali out of the way.

     Jasmine’s thievery 
  • The updates to Jasmine’s character are nice, but they make it seem unlikely that she wouldn’t know what money is or think to bring some with her when she went into the marketplace. Even if she didn’t, wouldn’t Dalia have thought to give her some, or at least explain the concept so she knew?
    • It looks like traditional Disney princess naivete and impulsiveness, it may have been her first time in Agrabah's bazaars.

     Why would Jasmine prefer Aladdin? 
  • During their conversation, Dalia comments that Jasmine would prefer to marry "that boy from the marketplace" over Prince Anders. But as far as Jasmine knows at this point, Aladdin stole her bracelet from her — why would Dalia think she'd want to marry him after that?
    • Because "stole her bracelet" was not the entirety of their interaction, and clearly Jasmine has told Dalia other things about their meeting.
    • ...And you’re saying the rest of their interaction was enough to offset the fact that he (supposedly) took advantage of her naïveté by stealing a priceless royal heirloom?
    • Simply because he's a native to Agrabah and at that point more preferable to Jasmine than some exotic foreigner that wants only her title and position. And Aladdin was able to prove himself the diamond in the rough over time, starting with returning the bracelet.

     Guards helping Jafar 
  • If the guards are supposed to be loyal to the sultan, and are even given a subplot about being loyal to the sultan, why did they help Jafar with his plan up until he was arrested? Policing the city is one thing, but then he has them going on trips to a cave in the desert when they don't know what he's trying to get from inside, and even makes them complicit in his attempt to kill off Prince Ali. Does Hakim not know about all of this? If he does, why hasn't he reported it to the sultan?
    • They helped Jafar as long as he was loyal to the Sultan, their personal moral quandary didn't come until Jafar had usurped the title.

     Treasure, treasure, everywhere... 
  • In this version, even after the Cave of Wonders collapses, all the treasure inside stays put. Why didn’t Aladdin think to take some of it before he “wished” himself out? I get that he had the genie, but those are piles and piles of free treasure, and he’s already seen the worst of what happens when he tries. Even if the cave were to do something worse to him the second time, he could probably make his wish before it had a chance to.


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